A good-enough gateway to more detailed texts but not on par with earlier works. (Graphic informational early reader. 4-6)



From the Giggle and Learn series

Ants are always moving, as this comic’s insect inhabitants collectively proclaim, and McCloskey’s fast-paced narrative stays true to this assertion.

Two children on a playground shrink to investigate an anthill, cursorily revealing myriad ant facts. Ant anatomy, the life cycle of an ant and a colony, the structure and hierarchy of the colony, and an exploration of the four ant senses (touch, smell, hearing, and taste) are covered in one- to two-page spreads, revealing some interesting tidbits of information (e.g., ants hear with their legs). The second half of the anthill tour provides some detail on various types of ant species, such as leaf-cutter ants, trap-jaw ants, and exploding ants. An amusing (and incomplete) list titled “What Ants Eat” is followed by a superfluous reintroduction of the children, again child-sized, which closes the volume. The book’s best feature is its illustrations. Painted on recycled grocery bags, the ants are detailed and expressive, making the children (one white-presenting and one black-) seem static in comparison, an impression exacerbated by the clumsy dialogue passing between the two. The facts fare better, although some spreads feel a bit crowded and organization is loose. The brevity of the information revealed may inspire independent research in older readers, which has the potential to yield some fascinating results. Somewhat disappointingly, the title has no bearing whatsoever on the text.

A good-enough gateway to more detailed texts but not on par with earlier works. (Graphic informational early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943145-45-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An appealing, attractive, and accessible introduction to endangered sea turtles.



The most fascinating part of this simple photo essay is the last statement made by the narrator, a baby leatherback sea turtle: “Someday I will come back to this same beach. I will lay eggs of my own.”

Although further explained in the backmatter (written for adults), this promise omits the fact that these turtles often travel 10,000 miles per year. As the main audience of this engaging description of leatherback sea turtles is very young children, and the book has a specific focus on the first days of life, the author sticks to a few details about the physical activities undertaken by the hatchling as she makes her way from the buried nest on a beach to the nearby sea. Readers might want to know where this beach is and where these turtles can be found, information not provided beyond the general statement that “They live in all of the world’s oceans.” This is not strictly true, as they are not found in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. These quibbles aside, the easy-to-read text in clear type on blue backgrounds combines with Feuillet’s large photographs (often close-ups) to give readers a step-by-step account of the new turtle’s emergence from the egg to the top of the nest, across the beach, to the water: “WATCH ME RUN!”

An appealing, attractive, and accessible introduction to endangered sea turtles. (further information, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7812-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.



Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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